Flood Waters are Still High in Some Parts of East Texas - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

10/25/06 - Newton County

Flood Waters are Still High in Some Parts of East Texas

by Ramonica R. Jones

Several southeast Texas counties are under water. That's making it difficult to repair damage from last week's storm. Nine area communities have been declared disaster areas because of all the damage.

It is not the first time the water has been high in Deweyville. The Sabine River flowed even higher out of its banks several years ago. This time, some of the nearby residents chose to get out, but others are sticking around.

Melissa Pitcher said, "We never leave because of the looters and stuff like that. We always stay and just boat in and out until it's gone. It normally doesn't last very long."

Thirteen-year-old Dennis Collins knows his way around the Sabine River. He took members of the East Texas News team on an unofficial river tour to show what the area is supposed to look like.

The water is much lower than it was last week, but with more rain on the way, the community is wondering how much more it can take.

"It's not very fun," Collins said. "It's boring just sitting in the house all the time, doing nothing."

Dennis' neighbors believe they should have known what they were in for. They said authorities miscalculated how high the water was going to get.

"What we need is information," said Ralph Ocraman. "Communication broke down. We're supposed to be set up where we would communicate. Everybody down here can take care of theirselves. We live on the river because we want to, not because we have to, and we know how to take care of things, but false information got everybody stuck."

Some of the homes in Deweyville are still under water. Several vehicles were also covered by the Sabine River and ruined in the storm.

Deweyville public schools have been out all week. Students are expected to return to class Thursday morning.

Before Wednesday, it had been more than a week since thunderstorms pounded East Texas, but several East Texas rivers and lakes are still above flood level. The Neches River is one of them. The water rose out of its banks.

Dozens of people remain out of their homes along the river in Jasper County. The Neches is expected to be above flood stage through at least Thursday.

The Sabine River is also above its normal level. Newton County residents said the water measured more than 28 feet high after the storm. The water is still 26 feet, well above the flood level of 24 feet.

The Sabine River Authority came out Wednesday to perform its weekly measurements on the river in Deweyville. The test was a little easier than usual because the technicians did not have to go far to find water.

SRA lab and field technician, Bethany Scott, said, "Some of the measurements could be PH of the water, the conductivity, how fast the flow is going downstream, major changes in the river."

The Sabine River Authority started measuring several area lakes and rivers after Hurricane Rita hit East Texas last September.

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